President Reagan yesterday signed a $296 billion defense authorization bill that emerged from a congressional dispute over arms control.
"The president is pleased that the objectionable provisions of this bill pertaining to arms control have been deleted or modified in an acceptable form," presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said.
"We hope that partisan or unilateral action can be avoided in this area in the future and that the Congress will work cooperatively with the executive branch as we continue high-level discussions with the Soviet Union," Fitzwater said.
"It is imperative that our government speak with one voice in order to protect and advance U.S. interests in these negotiations," he said.
The bill authorizes $296 billion in defense spending, including $3.9 billion for the president's "Star Wars" missile-defense program, known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, for which Reagan requested $4.5 billion.
"This funding level will permit a strong technology program; however, there will be delays in important experiments in both space- and ground-based technologies," Fitzwater said.
Senate Democratic and Republican leadership had united behind the compromise, worked out in conference.
The bill bars the administration from spending money during this fiscal year to produce any anti- missile weapons that would violate the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty and pushes it into closer compliance with the second Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Treaty. It does not mention either treaty, but spells out how money should be spent.